SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Two former Bosnian Serb police chiefs were jailed for 35 and 30 years on Friday for the killing of 1,000 Muslim men at a warehouse near the town of Srebrenica in July 1995, part of the worst massacre in Europe since World War Two.
Bosnia’s war crimes court found Dusko Jevic, 55, and Mendeljev Djuric, 52, guilty of aiding and abetting genocide but not guilty of genocide, judge Mira Smajlovic told the court.
The two were convicted of taking part in the forced removal of Muslims from Srebrenica and killing 1,000 Muslim detainees at a warehouse in nearby Kravica between July 10 and July 19 1995. Jevic was jailed for 35 years and Djuric for 30 years.
When Srebrenica, declared a ‘safe haven’ by the United Nations, was captured by the Bosnian Serbs towards the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian war, a total of 8,000 Muslim men and boys were separated from their women and children, taken away and killed in Europe’s worst massacre for 50 years.
The Bosnian Serb wartime commander, Ratko Mladic, is standing trial in The Hague accused of genocide for the killings.
Jevic was a deputy commander of the Bosnian Serb interior ministry special police brigade and the commander of the Jahorina special police training centre, while Djuric was the commander of the training centre’s first company.
Jevic and Djuric oversaw the separation of Srebrenica’s male population from around 40,000 women, children and elderly, and their transportation to dozens of execution sites.
Police under their command took part in two days of killings in Kravica of male Muslims whose bodies were later found in several mass graves.
Smajlovic described the crimes as among the most heinous of the Bosnian war, in which 100,000 people died.
“The day after the executions the survivors, some of whom were wounded, were called to come out to receive medical assistance, but they were deceived and killed,” the judge told the court.
The bodies were covered with hay, loaded onto trucks and taiken to burial sites where they were bulldozed into pits.
The two defendants were acquitted of genocide after judges said they could not conclude that they defendants knew of the “principal perpetrators’ genocidal intent beyond reasonable doubt”, Smajlovic said.
Two other defendants, police officers Nedjo Ikonic and Goran Markovic, were acquitted of all charges.
The United States on Thursday deported former Bosnian Serb police commander Dejan Radojkovic, 61, to Bosnia to face charges over the Srebrenica massacre, specifically the rounding up and execution of 200 Muslim men in the Konjevic Polje region.
Reporting By Maja Zuvela; Editing by Tim Pearce